Jeff Benrud dominated
the Pro Moto Ironman
class, winning by over an
hour. The 47-year-old has
been chasing this win and
struggled through a pre-run crash that separated
the cartilage in his sternum, and then had one
big crash in the silt beds
where he thought he may
have broken his leg. Jeff
soldiered on to his first
Most attention focused on the two teams vying for the
prestigious Pro Moto Unlimited crown, with Francisco
Arredondo’s squad leading the Mark Samuels crew by a
comparatively comfortable 10 points (218 to 208) thanks
to winning rounds two and three (the Baja 500 and the
Tijuana Desert Challenge). To surpass Arredondo in points,
Samuels had to win with Arredondo finishing third or
To create a safer buffer zone between the bikes/ATVs
and the fastest trucks/cars, SCORE separated the starts
by 10 hours, with the first bike leaving the start line near
downtown Ensenada at midnight, a nod to the very first
Mexican 1000 in 1967 that sent the first motorcycles south
from Tijuana to La Paz beginning at midnight.
By now, of course, most will have read or heard about
how the number 45X Honda CRF450X of Arredondo and
teammates Ty Davis, Max Eddy, Jr., Shane Esposito and
Justin Morgan led practically the entire way. Most are
aware that the CRF450X bearing 1X and manned by the
Samuels, Justin Jones, Ryan Penhall, Colton Udall and Ian
Young group lagged by nearly 30 minutes early on after
the tracker broke off, requiring time-consuming steps to
eventually reattach it.
And by now, most have learned that Arredondo’s bike
had a transmission problem that forced them to back off in
order to salvage a finish, a finish that they hoped would be
good enough to claim the championship.
Hot on their tails after their own issues early on, the
Samuels team forged on, getting closer and closer, their
Honda in perfect running order.
The decisive moment came when Morgan ducked in for
a scheduled pit stop but needed extra time to work on the
lights due to grazing a cow earlier. Young clicked into fifth
as he passed the previous race leader and went on to be
first to the finish line.
It was a clearly a moment to savor and celebrate, and
Young found himself doing just that. At 23, the youngest
member of the team and the only one who hadn’t been on
a winning team at the 1000 before, this was a moment like
no other; he had helped his team come from behind to win
the 50th Baja 1000! Championship or no championship,
the race win is what people will remember.
50TH ANNUAL BFGOODRICH TIRES
SCORE BAJA 1000
in the Pro Moto
Ironman class on
his KTM. He finished in 31 hours
and 48 minutes!